Molecular characterization of IRF3 and IRF7 in rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss: Functional analysis and transcriptional modulation

J W Holland, S Bird, B Williamson, C Woudstra, A Mustafa, T Wang, J Zou, S C Blaney, B Collet, C J Secombes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


Interferon regulatory factors (IRF) 3 and 7 in mammals are known to be crucial in regulating the type I interferon (IFN) response to viral infection as part of transcriptional complexes binding to IRF-binding elements (IRF-Es) and interferon stimulatory response elements (ISREs) within IFN and interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs). Here we report the sequencing and characterization of full-length cDNA homologues of rainbow trout (rt)IRF7 and, for the first time in fish, IRF3. RtIRF3 consists of 2127 bp with a 159 bp 5'-UTR-containing two upstream AUGs and a 573 bp 3'-UTR. RtIRF7 was found to be 2055 bp, with a 102 bp 5'-UTR and a 705 bp 3'-UTR. The open reading frames (ORFs) translate into 464 amino acid and 415 amino acid proteins, respectively, each possessing a putative DNA-binding domain (DBD) containing a tryptophan cluster, which is characteristic of all IRF family members. The presence of putative IRF association domain (IAD)s, serine-rich C terminal domains (poorly conserved in trout IRF3), and phylogenetic analysis places the two genes in the IRF3 subfamily. Both genes were found to be upregulated by poly I:C, type I recombinant rainbow trout (r) IFN (second isoform, type I rIFN), type II rIFN (rIFN gamma), LPS, and rIL-1 beta in the trout macrophage cell line, RTS-11. Poly I:C and type I rIFN also induced IRF3 and IRF7 expression in a trout fibroblast cell line (RTG-2). Transient transfection of RTG-2 cells with each IRF fused to GFP revealed a predominant cytoplasmic distribution found most intensely around the nucleus and, to a lesser extent, within cell nuclei. Transient transfection of rtlRF3 in the Mx-1-luciferase reporter cell line, RTG-P1, revealed a modest increase in luciferase activity relative to the vehicle control, which was lost in cells over-expressing a DBD-truncated form of rtIRF3. Both full-length and DBD-truncated forms of rtIRF7 increased reporter activity relative to the control, although to a non-significant extent. Electromobility shift assays (EMSAs) did not reveal a specific interaction between each IRF and the ISRE element found in the Mx-1 promoter, although the Mx-1 ISRE bound specifically to endogenous transcriptional complexes. These data support the premise that rtIRF3 and rtIRF7 are important molecules in the regulation of antiviral responses in fish, with the impact of rIFN gamma on rtIRF3/7 expression implying a role for these IRFs in immune processes other than type 1 IFN-driven antiviral responses. (c) 2008 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-285
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number2
Early online date20 Sept 2008
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • 3' untranslated regions
  • animals
  • base sequence
  • cell line
  • DNA, complementary
  • fish proteins
  • interferon inducers
  • interferon regulatory factor-3
  • interferon regulatory factor-7
  • interferon type I
  • molecular sequence data
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss
  • poly I-C
  • response elements
  • transcription, genetic
  • up-regulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular characterization of IRF3 and IRF7 in rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss: Functional analysis and transcriptional modulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this